We’re Havin’ a Heat Wave


With record-breaking temperatures throughout the country and massive droughts going on, this strikes me as a good time to talk about how to beat the heat on your wedding day.

After all, a scorcher of a day is not only uncomfortable for the people saying ‘I do’ but their friends and families as well. High mercury can lead to high tempers and short fuses. You don’t want fights breaking out because of heat-related misery and you certainly don’t want anyone – including you! – to suffer from heat prostration.

What to do to keep everyone as cool as you can? Read on and find out.

The first thing to do is to double check whether the space you’re using can be adequately cooled. If it’s indoors, ask for a demonstration of the air conditioning. If there is none, or if it’s obnoxiously loud, discuss the matter with the hall management to see what can be done. If you’re out of doors… Mother Nature doesn’t usually talk to you about it, she just does what she’s going to do and you need to prepare on your own. But a few good shade trees here and there will help matters tremendously, as would a covered porch.

If your wedding is being held in a traditionally warm month, accessorize for it. Fans and parasols are romantic, pretty alternatives to bouquets for bridesmaids or even the bride herself. If you’re marrying out of doors, consider picture hats for the ladies in the bridal party. Pretty sandals will allow feet to breathe. As for the guys, matching vests might be more comfortable than full jackets. Keep the fabrics light in both weave and color.


Keep the cold non-alcoholic drinks flowing. Heat dehydrates. Alcohol dehydrates. It doesn’t matter how cold you keep your champagne and beer, at some point people need to drink something else. So make sure there’s something else to drink, and make it attractive. Pretty pitchers of lemonade, big glass jars of agua fresca, perfectly chilled glasses of ice water, an Italian soda bar, or metal buckets full of ice chilling old fashioned glass bottles of milk will all encourage people to mix it up a little.

Heat also drains people of salt, which can lead to disaster. So make sure there are some salty snacks around the room. Tortilla chips and fresh guacamole, bowls of mixed nuts, dishes of briny olives or piquant sour pickles, cheese plates featuring feta or Parmesan… do what it takes to get people consuming salty goodness.

Offer fans as favors. If people can keep the air circulating around them, it’s a good thing. If they’re pretty enough to keep, it’s a really nice gesture.

You know how some brides put together emergency baskets in the bathrooms with things like tampons, pain relievers, breath mints, and bandages for guests with a sudden need? Consider putting out a similar hot weather kit either in the restrooms or just around the reception space. Put in cheap folding fans, sunscreen if you’re out of doors, cooling pre-moistened towelettes, and a bit of aloe in case someone burns before they notice it.

If it’s appropriate in the space you’ve chosen, have a couple shallow kiddie pools with some ice water and encourage overheated guests to take off their shoes and wallow for a minute or two. Or rent a mister and place it strategically so guests who are suffering can go stand in a very light spray of cool water.

Weddings are fun at all times of year… but every season brings its own challenges to the event. An ounce of prevention is a heck of a lot better than an ambulance carrying away a guest with heat stroke. Keep it safe and sane this summer!

2 Responses to “We’re Havin’ a Heat Wave”

  1. Anne B. July 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    I think this post may qualify as a Corporal Work of Mercy – good and necessary information for what could turn out to be a brutal situation.

    Many thanks for putting it up.

  2. Twistie July 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    @Anne B.: Entirely my pleasure! I’ve been to a couple hot weddings where nobody thought of some of these things. Not Fun.